“The only truth is music.” ~ Jack Kerouac
It’s funny how songs can take you back to moments and moments can take you back to feelings and before you know it you’re knee deep in the year before last.
Time is a tricky thing. And so is timing.
Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you had made a right turn at yesterday’s left? Or taken two steps backward, instead of ten steps forward?
Or maybe we never took any steps forward at all.
Because right when we think we have, the radio blares and the rear view mirror becomes the windshield.
Maybe music really is the only truth, shaking us awake and exposing what we’ve grown so good at hiding.
Just close your eyes and hear that song…you know the one.
The one that makes you feel dangerous, yet safe; warm, yet cold; alone, yet in love.
The one that when you open your eyes, you are right back where it all started. You never really got over the smell of autumn air, the touch of gentle rain, the sensation of that first kiss.
Ah, that first kiss.
And along with it, that first glance, first brush of skin, that first of many firsts that would keep you coming back for seconds and thirds.
Just as we so often press replay on our favorite song, we recycle lovers and friends and memories for comfort, convenience or the chance at that “feeling” without the waste of listening to thousands of others, that will never be the same.
I blame the lyrics on the lines on the pages so carefully written to evoke our deepest layers, unpeeling us like an onion and leaving us raw and exposed at the core.
But it’s beautiful really, that a stranger can somehow know all of our secrets and bring them to life again and again with a few simple chords.
To me, music is all powerful, each song splashing color across the vast spectrum that is human emotion. It can lift you up and it can bring you to your knees. It can speak for the unspoken and even express that for which words simply don’t exist.
It can transport people to places and purposes long forgotten and I too have traveled back in time with it on countless occasions.
I’ve re-lived my eighth Christmas of twinkling lights and fulfilled wishes, my short-lived love affair with the West Coast between my toes, my last goodbyes with uncles and grandparents and best friends scattered over the years. I’ve soared, I’ve crumbled, I’ve fallen in love with him and me and many more, many times.
And I’ve relished in the fact that the simple hit of a button can do just that.
By no means am I condoning living in the past, as I know better than most that can be both torturous and cruel and I am determined to someday remove regret from my vocabulary. But, I think in order to grow into the future, sometimes we have to take a look at the past. I’ve learned that more often than not, I like what I see.
I love what I see.
As they say, everything looks better in retrospect. And a good playlist has never let me down.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
1. Fast Car—Tracy Chapman: For night drives in old neighborhoods, filled with memories of young love and life and dreams.
2. Playing with the Boys—Kenny Loggins: For when it’s summer baby and the days are long and wreckless; the 80’s are my anthem.
3. For Good—Wicked: For when I want to remember a loved one lost too soon and just how much of me is her.
4. Love Will Keep Us Alive—Eagles: For when I’m feeling lost and maybe, just maybe, hoping to be found.
5. Hold You in my Arms—Ray Lamontagne: For when I’m feeling all lovey dovey like and want to build a future on the curve of some boy’s face.
An aspiring writer, fashion enthusiast and lover of all things yoga, dance and green, Jamie recently ended a far-too-short glimpse of the world spending her days as an English teacher and soul-searcher in Madrid, Spain. She is completely fascinated by languages and cultures and won’t be satisfied until she’s seen it all. And so it begins.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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